Gallery: Ipswich bursts into colour for Indian Mela

Indian Mela on Christchurch Park as part of Ipswich's IP Art festival. Bhangra Dance band

Indian Mela on Christchurch Park as part of Ipswich's IP Art festival. Bhangra Dance band

A burst of colour, aromatic food and sunshine arrived in Ipswich today with thousands revelling in the party atmosphere.

The Indian Summer Mela took place in Christchurch Park with a variety of attractions showcasing the country’s rich culture with Indian dance, food, religion and clothing.

In its 11th year, the event, organised by the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Association, did not disappoint and was hailed the “biggest and best Mela ever” with crowds of around 8,000 people filling the park.

The free Mela was filled with vibrant performances by local artists of Indian dance, songs and music as well as yoga, Tai Chi, Bokwa and Bollywood workshops and demonstrations and the chance to get tattooed with henna.

Visitors spent the day exploring the vibrant market while tantalising aromas saturated the air from the Indian food village.

Bryony Rudkin, Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for culture, said the event, which was held in partnership with Ip-Art, was “absolutely wonderful”.

She added: “The sunshine did us proud and the colour of the dancing, the music, the food and the friendly welcome from everybody was just superb.

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“It was great to see so many people from Ipswich out and about and having a good time.”

Visitors could try their hand at Bollywood dancing under the watchful eye of Bollywood dance choreographer and performer Jay Kumar, who encouraged some of his students to show off their newly learned dance moves.

Dancers from Akula Tribal and Affinity Tribal showcased American Tribal style belly dancing with influences from Flamenco, Oriental, Rajasthani and Indian Kathak dance.

While singer-songwriter Shakila Karim, 15, and Gabhru Punjab De Bhangra group entertained the crowds with their music.

Youngsters were kept amused with a variety of fun games and rides.

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